Tales of Tailless – Two

Dunne D5

Dunne D5


Is it a Stealth prototype? Not in 1910. It’s the Dunne D5 – the brainchild of Lt. John William Dunne whose first attempts at inherently-stable sweptback flying-wings got off the ground (!) in 1907 at Blair Atholl – and in much secrecy.
After many experiments and a few more Dunnes, officialdom decided the future was in ballooning and airships.
Aye but Oh!

No secrecy involved when this one was in flight though-thanks to the sizeable rammy being created by the Vulcan’s four great Olympus BOI.3s.

Vulcan

Vulcan

What fun we can have in painting! The Vulcan of this era was finished in anti-nuclear-flash white, so I just thought it’d be nice in purple.
But it IS white, no?

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Tailless in GAVA

Me163B

Me163B


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Recently I posted this painting on Facebook and folks were interested in something from Forbes that was not Great War. Well – there are more.
For my second ever submission to the Guild of Aviation Artists’ exhibition there were two aircraft – and not a tail between them.
I just love the paintings of Turner and I’d been at his Water Colours exhibition in Edinburgh. There were a few that he’d painted on blue paper which I thought looked especially attractive. So naturally plagiarism raised its ugly head and this Me 163 is accordingly a watercolour on a blue paper….
Not a GREAT pilots’ aeroplane the 163, as you sat between two fuel tanks of corrosive stuff that exploded when mixed. Or melted skin clean off if that unfortunate skin was exposed to it. Plus, it landed on a big skid with a predictable wallop and if the fuels hadn’t been totally drained in the flight they would just explode. Aye – volunteers line up here………..
The other tailless was the more approachable Westland Pterodactyl IV. No short-range, late-war fighting rocket like the 163, this was the second flying experiment of Westland to the designs of the innovative Mr. Geoffrey Hill. It flew in 1931 and in the age of open-cockpit bi-planes here was a glazed-cabin, swept-back flying wing and the wings SWUNG to more suitable angles of sweep for the speed involved. A really amazing machine.

Pterodactyl IV

Pterodactyl IV


The Pterodactyl was my first and only Acrylic painting in an attempt to branch out from watercolours. Acrylic! Bah! Not for me. Far too quick-drying. So onto the oils then…
..and perhaps yet more things without tails.